PLEDGE NOW
The Social Game Craze

Social gaming is huge on Facebook and beyond. Now it’s big money, too. We look at the culture and business of social gaming.

Social Games

Social Games - Farmville site detail.

We all remember connecting with friends over a game of cards, Parcheesi or Monopoly. These days, games are more popular than ever—but increasingly they’re virtual and played on Facebook.

In the game “Farmville,” cartoon characters raise barns and harvest virtual crops. In “Sorority Life,” players collect housemates and buy the latest fashions.

And while they’re free to play, the small fraction of serious players who pony up cash for coveted virtual goods means the business of social games is booming.

This Hour, On Point: The big business and mass appeal of social games.

Guests:

Nick Wingfield, technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal. His July 30 article  on virtual goods is “First, Give Away the Game.”

Mia Consalvo, visiting associate professor in Comparative Media Studies at MIT’s GAMBIT Game Lab. She studies digital and casual games, new media, and women’s gameplay and is writing a book about Japan’s role in the gaming industry.

Frank Lantz, creative director and co-founder of Area Code, which creates social games for Facebook and other media platforms. He is also director of the NYU Game Center.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 2, 2016
A man walks on the rail tracks of a train station turned into a makeshift camp crowded by migrants and refugees, at the northern Greek border point of Idomeni, Greece, Friday, April 29, 2016. Many thousands of migrants remain at the Greek border with Macedonia, hoping that the border crossing will reopen, allowing them to move north into central Europe. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

A top former US diplomat says refugees and tribalism are pulling Europe apart and that the US needs to get involved- to help Europe by helping refugees.

May 2, 2016
ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, MAY 2, 2016 AND THEREAFTER - In this April 19, 2016 photo, Laurie Millan, a para-professional and tutor, works with a student during an after school tutoring session at San Francisco International High School, in San Francisco. While some districts in numerous states have discouraged migrant minors from Central America from enrolling in their schools, the school accommodated its youths by rewriting young-adult novels at a basic level to spark the newcomers' interest in reading.  (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Is grit the secret sauce that drives success? More important than both talent and intellect? We’re talking the power and limits of grit.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 29, 2016
Screengrab from the #MorethanMean video produced by Sarah Spain and Julie Dicaro. Scroll down to view the video.

Women pushing back. A video by two female sports reporters about online harassment goes viral.

 
Apr 29, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, joined by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina waves during a rally in Indianapolis, Wednesday, April 27, 2016, when Cruz announced he has tapped Fiorina to serve as his running mate. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Trump and Hillary wins. Bernie lays off. Cruz chooses Carly. Beyonce drops “Lemonade.” Our weekly news roundtable goes beyond the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
‘Embedded’: How Violent Gangs Are Terrorizing El Salvador
Thursday, Apr 14, 2016

NPR’s Kelly McEvers on her reporting in El Salvador for the podcast Embedded, and how gang killings brought San Salvador’s bus service to a halt.

More »
Comment
 
That Cheap Dress On Facebook? It Isn't Worth It
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

Know those shockingly cheap clothes you see advertised on Facebook? There’s a catch.

More »
Comment
 
The Boston Globe Imagines — And Rejects — A President Trump Front Page
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

The Boston Globe editorial page imagines — and rejects — President Donald Trump.

More »
Comment